The risk of nuclear catastrophe is greater and rising today than it was during the Cold War, former defence secretary William Perry has said. According to him, a regional war, terrorist attack, accident or a simple miscalculation can lead to a nuclear catastrophe.
William Perry, the former US defence secretary who served at the Pentagon from 1994 to 1997, made the statement a few hours before North Korea’s Nuclear Test. During his speech in Stanford University’s annual Drell Lecture, he talked about possible nuclear calamity. He also listed North Korea’s aggressive nuclear programme as one of the high risk factors for the world.
The Cold War was an alarming time with just one press by the US president, the world on the verge of total nuclear destruction. However, back then, people were aware of the threat. Unlike today, the situation is worse than the cold war but not a lot of people can understand how bad things can turn out, reported news.com.au.
Dr William J Perry observed, “Today the danger of some sort of nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.”
Perry also said that immediately after the cold war, the chance of nuclear exchange between US and Russia was reduced because of the fall of Soviet Union. But now the chances are getting bigger again. According to Perry, a new danger of nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia had been rising in the past three years. This can be a result of a substantial miscalculation or false alarm.
He also listed other issues across the world. The risk of nuclear catastrophe stemming from cyber attack, volatility between India and Pakistan, North Korea’s nuclear programme, Russia’s military invention in Syria and Ukraine and its aggressive air and sea patrol are just some of the factors that can make the world volatile to a nuclear annihilation, reported The Guardian.
Perry said, “We should not accept that diplomacy is incapable of reducing the present antagonism between the U.S. and Russia, any more than we accepted that it was impossible to use diplomacy with Iran.”
He also stated that communication between NATO and Russian chains of command is at its lowest; making the situation far worse than in the 1970s and 80s.
The shooting down of the Russian warplane by Turkey, a NATO member, over at the Turkey-Syria border also reflects the breakdown. This was the first time since the Korean war that a NATO member had downed a Russian war plane.
Perry said that the potential for nuclear terrorism did not exist during the Cold War, but today it is a potential force and more dangerous than most people understand. He added, “Our policies and actions do not adequately reflect the dangers.”